Thursday, January 27, 2005

ENTROPY AND ME

(I know: “Entropy and I.” That don’t (I know: “doesn’t”) work.)

Speaking of entropy, when I first learned of the “law” of entropy back in the dark ages of college, I mistakenly thought it pertained only to energy-dispersal-related action that was happening “out there” in the cosmos where the really major but very distant stuff went on. Back then, before I herded firewood, I thought entropy had nothing to do with me, as long as my 1957 white Ford Fairlane convertible started in the morning.

In the decades since, as per the stone-cold curriculum in the school of life, I’ve learned that the reality is quite a bit different, as it usually is. In fact, the law of entropy as I now know it has a nano-codicil that goes something like “everything in the universe is tending toward uniform and complete dispersal, including Bob’s income.”

It doesn’t matter what my income is; a higher amount simply begets a greater number of literal and figurative hands held out palm up, in the timeless ritual of financial entropy. The value of money actually wants to be like salt in the ocean.

Further proof of this is offered every day when, for example, I visit my mailbox and find not letters of inheritance, or tax refunds, lottery winner notifications or packages of diamonds, no governmental deeds to gold mines or grants to rich territories - as would be the case in a nurturing, gathering universe - but bills for unseen utilities now used up, orders to remit certain amounts of various taxes, insurance bills, roofing bills, car registration fees, credit card bills, the list is far longer than my working life will ever be.

You can see where this is heading. In keeping with the general entropic tendency of the universe, all my futile efforts at gathering and retaining, my na├»ve tendency toward nest-egging, fly directly in the face of the entire universe itself! I’m swimming up a million Mississippis, dragging a boatload of bureaucrats! Who can win such a struggle and reach the mythical fountainhead, except perhaps for a brief moment after the third can of beer?

And the next entropic question: how many third cans of beer are there in the universe?

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